MILWAUKEE -- For the second consecutive night, it was no-hitter watch at Miller Park. And for the second consecutive night, Juan Nieves -- the lone pitcher in Milwaukee history to hurl a no-no -- can rest easy.Milwaukee starter Chase Anderson took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and Scooter Gennett
MILWAUKEE -- For the second consecutive night, it was no-hitter watch at Miller Park. And for the second consecutive night, Juan Nieves -- the lone pitcher in Milwaukee history to hurl a no-no -- can rest easy.
Milwaukee starter Chase Anderson took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and Scooter Gennett drove in three runs as the Brewers completed a two-game sweep of the A's, who have lost five in a row, with a 4-0 win.
Anderson pitched 6 2/3 scoreless frames a day after Zach Davies carried a no-hitter into the seventh. Anderson's no-hit bid was broken up with one out in the sixth by a Jake Smolinski cue-shot single with an exit velocity of 57 mph, according to Statcast™ -- one of only three Oakland hits. Over his last five starts, Anderson has now posted a 2.03 ERA.
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"When you pitch well and you are successful, obviously it boosts your confidence," Anderson said. "It's been good. I'm just trying to, every five days, go out there and do the best I can and keep the team in the game. Be consistent: that's the name of the game."
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Gennett got the Brewers on the board with an RBI single in the first off A's starter Jesse Hahn, who gave up four runs on eight hits in 3 2/3 innings, and hit another single to plate two insurance runs in the fourth.
"I think that we're lacking just a little bit in consistency on all areas of the ball," A's catcher Stephen Vogt said. "I don't think it's just our starting pitching, or just our hitting, or just our defense. It's a combination of all three, and I think that's why it's been frustrating this year. We'll win six, lose five, win five, lose four, and so it's kinda just been streaky, and all three sides of the ball have been that way. That's just where we need to improve, consistency in all aspects."
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MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Scooter Shtoink!: The biggest hit of the game had humble beginnings. With the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the fourth, Gennett gently lofted a pitch from Hahn into shallow right for a hit. The ball landed over the head of second baseman Jed Lowrie, allowing Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Ramon Flores to score, giving Milwaukee a 4-0 lead. The three RBIs on the night were a season high for Gennett.
"Sometimes, you hit a ball hard and it's right at somebody," Gennett said. "Sometimes you don't hit the ball hard and it ends up falling in the perfect spot. Really, the biggest thing for me is just getting the job done, no matter what. It worked out tonight, just putting the bat on the ball and being aggressive."
Road woes: Three times in four tries, Hahn opened an inning by allowing a hit, with each leading to a run. The right-hander, who didn't even make it out of the first inning in Houston on Friday, yielding seven runs and recording only two outs, limited the damage to one run in the first this time. But he gave up another in the second and was pulled with two outs in the fourth following Gennett's two-run blooper. The A's got just 4 1/3 innings from Hahn on this road trip, with 11 runs allowed in that span.
"I'm just putting myself in jams," Hahn said. "I have to do a better job of being more efficient, getting ahead of hitters, and limiting the damage in some of these innings. These last two starts, I've let these innings blow up on me, and I can't do that." More >
Seeing disappointment: Milwaukee's shift has led to many outs for its pitchers this season, but the defense's infield alignment against Smolinski played into the end of Anderson's no-hit quest. Smolinski cued a changeup from Anderson weakly toward the hole in the right side of the infield where Gennett would likely have been without a shift on. Chris Carter was unable to make the play, and the ball trickled into right field for a seeing-eye single and Oakland's first hit of the game.
"Not really," Anderson said when asked if the play frustrated him. "Because you know you make your pitch and just with the shift, [Carter] had to go and try to get that ball. It was a tough play."
Offensive slumber: The A's were without power bats Danny Valencia (flu) and Khris Davis (elbow) a second straight day and managed little without them, mustering only three hits and six overall in the two-game series. They've been outscored, 32-13, through the first five games of an eight-game road swing, with Wednesday's loss being just their second of the shutout variety. Oakland's No. 3 hitter, Josh Reddick, has also been absent with a fractured left thumb and isn't expected to return until the end of the month.
"When you don't have your 3-4-5 hitters, sometimes it's a little tough to get anything going up and down the lineup when you're relying on those guys to do some damage," A's manager Bob Melvin said.
"Reddick doesn't get spoken about enough, him being out," Vogt said, "but I think we're all guilty of that at times, trying to do more than we're capable of. i think we have the people in here to do it, just a matter of everybody clicking on all cylinders at the same time."
"He used the pool stick and got the cue ball where he was supposed to get it." -- Anderson, on Smolinski's single to break up his no-hit bid
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
With a scoreless inning in relief, A's reliever and former Brewers closer John Axford made his 151st career appearance at Miller Park. That is the second-most in the history of the stadium, only trailing Francisco Rodriguez by three.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The bottom of the second inning appeared to come to an end with a Jonathan Villar groundout to shortstop. Counsell challenged the out call, thinking the hustling Villar was safe. Video review showed that Marcus Semien took too long to make the throw across the diamond and Villar beat the throw to the base. It loaded the bases with two outs and the Brewers up 2-0, but a Gennett fly out ended the inning.
Athletics: The A's will enjoy an off-day in Cincinnati on Thursday before arriving at Great American Ball Park on Friday for the start of a three-game Interleague series with the Reds. Right-hander Sonny Gray, who limited the Astros to one run across five innings in his return from the disabled list on Sunday, starts the 4:10 p.m. PT opener.
Brewers: A four-game Mets-Brewers series at Miller Park begins Thursday with a prime pitching matchup. Forty-three-year-old Bartolo Colon puts his 3.27 ERA on the line against Brewers right-hander Jimmy Nelson, who owns a 3.43 ERA and is looking to bounce back from his shortest start of the season in Philadelphia. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. CT.
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Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.
Curt Hogg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Milwaukee..